CHICAGO -- There is no hotter hitter in the American League, and possibly all of baseball, than Paul Konerko.
The White Sox first baseman finished 1-for-4 in Friday's series-opening 9-3 victory over Cleveland and now has a .526 average over his current 11-game hitting streak while knocking out 17 hits in 28 at-bats over his last eight games. His 20 multi-hit games leave him tied with Miguel Cabrera for second in all of baseball, trailing only Melky Cabrera's 22, while his .381 average and .458 on-base percentage top the AL and trail only the Mets' David Wright (.405 and .500) overall.
Yet, conversation concerning the 36-year-old's accomplishments will have to come from someone other than the White Sox captain, who doesn't believe studying his own stats has any bearing on individual or team success.
"Sometimes nowadays it's tough not to [look at statistics], but it's not by choice," Konerko said. "There's no benefit for it. It doesn't change what I have to do when I come every day. It should have no effect on what's happening tonight."
While some other accomplished veterans seem to slow down as they hit the back end of their careers, Konerko has gotten better with age. He has hit at least .300 with at least 31 homers and 105 RBIs in each of his last two seasons, and is well on his way to those totals with 10 homers and 27 RBIs in 2012.
Hitting coach Jeff Manto believes Konerko's particular style of preparation will allow him to become even stronger at the plate as his career continues.
"He's a cerebral guy. He studies these guys. He knows these guys," said Manto of Konerko's work to conquer opposing pitchers. "He's getting better because of the knowledge he has not only of himself but of the league. With that, it's just phenomenal what he's doing.
"His work ethic and his past definitely are evident when he goes to the plate. He has done some great things the past seven or eight years. He has done some great things this year. I'm not surprised at all. How he talks, how he studies other pitchers, his preparation is second to none. It's a really good thing for a really good guy."
Konerko also serves as a great role model for young hitters, even if they have different styles. When Dayan Viciedo was asked about Konerko on Friday, he laughed and called Konerko's hitting streak "a work of art." He also acknowledged there's much to be taken from what Konerko does.
"Anybody and everybody should be able to learn from him and one of the biggest things is just the way he goes about the game," said Viciedo through translator and White Sox director of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "His fundamentals, those are the things ...
"You can't exactly bat like him. But if you do the things in preparing yourself and have the fundamentals, you can definitely learn about them."